July 25, 2014

Archos 5 - Designed by Engineers?

I got my free Archos 5 and spent a very lovely evening playing with my new toy. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about the device, especially since I got it practically free.  I’m hoping that the good people of Archos will read this post and take some useful info from it.

The device sure has some looks! It may not be iYouKnowWhat but it is sleek, glossy and feels good in my hand. The screen is bright and beautiful though the “touch” part is somewhat sluggish. It started up out of the box no problem and I was pleasantly surprised that after updating the firmware (no automatic notification though) I was running Android 1.6.

As many people noted before me, things are running fast on Archos 5 – noticeably faster than on my MyTouch 3G. The video playback is nice and clear and it is refreshing to be able to watch Flash-based movies.

What is killing the device for me is absence of everything Google. Yes one can use the browser to check email, etc. However, not having Google apps really kills the gadget for me. I would strongly advise (not that anyone is asking) any manufacturer or carrier not to monkey with Google-things in Android. It leaves gaping holes in functionality and frustrates heck out of the user. I’m not even going to comment on Appslib market app. The Google Market could use some improvements but it feels like walking from Bloomingdale’s into a flea market.

My last chance before the gadget hits eBay is to hack it and install missing Google stuff, but really, good engineers of Archos,  please stop reinventing Android where it does not need reinvention. Call Google, try to cut a deal, it will do you much good.

Am I too harsh? What is your take on Archos? What is your experience?

P.S. No eBay. Since I wrote this post few weeks ago I grew rather found of my Archos 5. Installing missing Google apps was super easy and the snappiness of browsing, gorgeous screen and ability to watch movies and read eBooks in bed (and for my little daughter play Flash-based games) is very addictive. Matter of fact I’m thinking of investing another $39 into HD plugin not so much that regular AVIs look bad but it’s just annoying to not being able watch mp4. And with rumored support of 2.1 in the nearest future Archos 5 may turn my favorite gadget.

But still I’m standing by my original point – not supporting Google stack is bad business decision. Yes it may save some hefty $$ at the beginning but loosing your customers due to the lack of official Google support is totally shortsighted especially when your competition is gearing up. Wake up good people of Archos and shell some dineros, pleeeese…